| Dear Customer,
In the 21 years we have been putting out catalogs, we have photographed
a wide range of subjects for our cover, the majority being tools
that were excellent examples of their type. Oddly enough, in the
tool collecting market, it is not the best tools that bring the
best price, it is the rarest tools that bring the best price.
The plane on our cover was patented in 1854 by M. B. Tidey, and
this ebony, ivory and brass example is believed to have been the
personal property of the inventor. The plane sold at auction for
$27,000 US in 1997, to date the highest price brought by a hand
plane at any North American auction.
A curious aspect of all of this is that the plane was so specialized
as to be nearly useless, even at the time of its invention. It
was designed to chamfer the rails and stiles of doors; the brass
central shoe would fit in the groove for the door panel and the
two independently adjustable wings of the plane would chamfer
the inside edges of the rail and stile members at chosen angles.
There are only a half dozen known surviving examples of this
plane. Its near uselessness was the root cause of its collecting
value because few planes were produced and even fewer survived,
contributing to the rarity that brought such a high price.
While we expect most of the fine hand tools in our catalog to
appreciate over the years, we hope that none of them appreciate
for the same reason as the Tidey plane.
Leonard G. Lee
P.S. The owner of the Tidey plane, Bob Buisson, prefers not to
publish his address; this avoids someone collecting his plane
without his permission.